Books & Blackberry Brownies

08 . 21 . 11

Over the past few years I’ve been curating a short (but sadly growing) list of things I’m worried my (someday) kids will never get to see or experience in their lives. Although I am a pretty optimistic person, my heart does sink every now and then when I step back for too long and watch the great world spin before me. I tend to stumble upon these things gently, usually in nature where I am reassured that everything is going to be the way it should.

Alas, this has not been the case for my most recent fear. Books. The end of books. The real hold-it-in-your-hand, check-it-out-at-the-library, pass-it-to-a-friend, dog-ear-the-page, make-your-purse-heavy kind of books. The gutting of bookstores large and small across the nation is the beginning of what I fear will soon turn into a world entirely of e-readers and online textbooks. The idea that one day I might be able to say “when I was a kid, there used to be stores the size of supermarkets filled with just books” and get a response like, “no way!” is scary.

The Borders liquidation sale was a war-zone this past weekend — books falling off the shelves, on the floor. People were manically digging through stacks of movies and rows of greeting cards as if their lives depended on it. An ugly scene, to say the least. We left empty handed, and when I asked Shaun why we had even checked it out in the first place he responded, “to remember.” Gulp.

If you’ve checked out the recommended reading page, you’ll know that there is something very spiritual to me about having a house filled with good books. There is a Horace Mann quote that embraces my sentiments perfectly, “a house without books is like a room without windows.” It’s so true. They help develop our perspectives of the world, bringing us closer together without ever taking step out the front door. Even if that stack on your nightstand has gone untouched in the past six months, they still serve as physical reminders of our beliefs, our hopes, and our curiosities.

Pick out a good book from your stash and have a brownie. Cherish the pages.

Blackberry Brownies

Adapted from A Dash of Sass

  • 4 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup brown rice syrup
  • ½ cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend
  • 1 cup vegan cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups whole blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking pan with a tsp of coconut oil and set aside. Grate zucchini into a strainer, press with a towel to remove excess moisture.

In a large bowl, mix together coconut oil, eggs, brown rice syrup, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in the dried, pressed zucchini. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture slowly, stirring to combine. Add the blackberries last, stirring together gently.

Bake for 40-45 minutes and let cool for 20-30 minutes, if you can resist temptation.

  • I’m so with you—on the books and the brownies!

    I do read books on my iPad, but only for convenience purposes and only sometimes! I don’t think I can ever give up “real” books!

    Thanks for the thoughts and the recipe :)

  • I’m obsessed with my carefully curated book collection. I will gladly enjoy a brownie with a cup of tea and a good book. A world without books would be a sad place indeed!

  • Holy Freak’n Batman! I don’t know what I like more; your gorgeous photos or the brownies!! :)

  • I couldn’t agree with you more! I love our collection of books and our local library. Our shelves at home are spilling over so we’re building more bookcases…a happy project. Love these fudgy looking brownies (and your baking dish)!

  • The brownies sound quite special — I’d never consider pairing them with blackberry for some reason. I love raspberry with chocolate, so go figure.

    On books: My husband called me from the liquidation this past weekend asking what I might be interested in. I’ve watched from afar, not wanting to be a part of it all because it makes me sad as well. But I’m still optimistic and will most likely stay that way. I don’t own a Kindle, nor do I order books to read on my iPad, and I don’t expect to. Instead, I will continue to purchase real books, keep them in my home, treasure those I’ve raised my boys loving, and frequent used book stores in person, or purchase from on-line. Never say die.

  • Amanda

    Hey Girl,

    I know!!! My favorite part of a book is the smell of the pages! Anyway, these brownies look amazing and if I lived in a house with a kitchen, I would make them! Miss you baby girl!

  • Inspiring, as always! I suspect I’ve been reading too many cookbooks and food books. I need to get swept away in some fiction; that must be part of the reason why I haven’t felt inspired to write much lately. I do love the have little stacks of books on my nightstand and side tables. Books are always in reach, just the way I like them.

    And those brownies? Blackberries and zucchini? Brilliant!

  • I’m guilty of loving my books so much that I can’t resist starting a new one — then I find myself reading 5 books at once.

    And I’ve been so into brownies lately, so I’ll definitely be trying these :)

  • I love that pan :) so cute!!!

  • Oh I hear ya! I’m definitely an old-fashion kind of a girl and love to have my books as they are, not digital! I see toddlers playing with iphones and it makes me wonder whatever happened to normal toys?! I think I’ll definitely want to raise my kid(s) more traditional way than that.

    Gorgeous brownies! Coconut oil works so well instead of butter!

  • Brownies with blackberries stirred in? Genius. Seriously.

    I’m worried that my kids won’t understand the concept of film photography, so I’m starting up that habit again—to preserve it in my little household, at least. You’re so right about digitizing everything; we’ve gotta be careful, lest we lose the magic of things.

  • I am so on the same page with you on the books thing. I cherish books. My husband and I have so many we have no room for them on our bookcases. And, despite the fact that I have an iPad, I refuse to read a book on a piece of technology. It’s just not right! If I’m ever lucky enough to write a book, I sure hope I get to hold the paper in my hands. And my kids do, too! xo

  • I also love a good book–to have and to hold and to share. But I am really starting to enjoy my Nook, and appreciate how the end of big box book stores doesn’t equal the end of reading–reading lives on. That’s the most important thing to me. And I don’t mind saving a tree by purchasing and borrowing from the library digital books.

  • And to think: I was wondering what in the world I was going to do with those blackberries I picked on Tuesday. A tasty solution too.

  • Blackberries and brownies. Oh, this could just be my perfect combination.

  • Tartepink

    I’m totally agree with you. As long as they publish real books, I don’t think I will ever quit reading books while touching and smelling paper! These look delicious BTW!!

  • I’m totally with you on the fear of a book-less world. I truly hope it never happens.
    These brownies look magical. Yum.

  • I’m totally with you on the fear of a book-less world. I truly hope it never happens.
    These brownies look magical.Yum.

  • Just discovered your blog and I LOVE it!

  • Renee

    I agree about the books but from a different perspective. I do enjoy my Kindle. It is very convenient for a working mom of 3.

    What bothers me about replacing published content with digital content is that history can be rewritten at the press of a delete button.

    It is fitting to tell this today, September 11, 2011. One week before September 11, 2001, I was going through my e-mails. I had subscribed to The New York Times online and was looking at their e-mail which had links to some top articles pertaining to categories of interest which I had chosen.

    One of the articles stood out and it was worth printing to show to my husband. The article was about a man called Osama bin Laden who while at his son’s wedding that week openly boasted about his emminent efforts to strike the United States. Little did I know then was that this unheard of person would be the most talked about man the next week.

    My husband read the article and we talked about it but by the end of the week the print out went to the recycling. Then that fatal Tuesday came. A few days later, I was stunned to hear that name again and remembered. I immediately went back to my e-mails. I clicked on the link to pull up the article again; however, instead of the article which I had read a week prior, there was a different article about 9/11. I wrote an e-mail requesting this article to New York times with a forward of their e-mail which showed the link. The answer I received was that they decided to have an article which reflected the current events. They had no obligation to keep on-line content the same since it was not a published article – in hard print.

    Need I say, I no longer subscribe to them.

    In all of the coverage that followed September 11th, I never heard one word about Osama bin Laden’s speech at his son’s wedding or the fact that The New York Times had even done an article on this. It’s a scary thought that facts could be cut and paste in or out of our history.

  • Cynthia D

    I’m determined to try one of your recipies as soon as life gives me a chance and I think this will be the first one :) Blackberries are one of my favorite foods and you know I’m a sucker for creative gluten free :D Love you!

  • Just discovered your blog – it’s gorge! Love your recipes. BTW, I had to comment b/c I have that same sweater AND that same baking dish. LOOOVE Anthro! :)

  • Im afraid I fell in love with it after eating 3 cubes.
    Thanks for the great recipe. It’s really-really good. So I’ve also shared in my blog – marking you as a source.

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